PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Laughter, kisses from mom and a few dad jokes are among the sounds you will probably hear on the first day of school. But some lucky Portsmouth children will not hear the school bus rumble.

Buses numbered EV287 and EV286 are Portsmouth’s new electric buses. A grant from the Environmental Protection Agency covered the cost of the new buses, while Dominion Energy covered the cost of the charging stations at Manor High School, per Michael King, the district’s coordinator of transportation.

“The first thing you’ll notice is they don’t have an exhaust pipe,” said the former Navy man.
The second thing you will probably notice is they don’t have a loud sound.”

Regina Mobley: Do they still have that new bus smell?

Michael King: They always have that new bus smell. Whenever we introduce a new bus to the fleet that’s what a lot of people look for.

After a three-hour charge, each electric bus is good for 130 miles. That’s more than enough mileage to cover the entire school day.

With Denita Adams behind the wheel, 10 On Your Side took a ride on EV287 with Denita Adams, who has safely transported Portsmouth children for five years.

Regina Mobley: The bus has started; I hear nothing; I was thinking maybe there was a malfunction.

Michael King: It is running, it is running.

“We have taken this bus to multiple back-to-school events and the children are so excited, especially when you tell them it’s an electric bus,” King said.

EV could make the ride safer and more social. Adams quipped that she can hear a pin drop on the new EV bus.

“You can you can hear everything the kids talk about,” Adams said.

The district is hopeful it will soon receive four additional electric buses via the EPA grant program.

Due to consolidation, all routes have drivers for the new school year, according to spokesperson Lauren Nolasco. Still, the district is working to fill 40 bus driver positions. For more information on how to apply, call (757) 393-8751 or visit the district’s jobs webpage.